Monday, April 19, 2010

****new release llist no.264


This week, the biggest money making film of all time, and some really great films have arrived at Four Star Video!

First off, so you don’t get too too confused. AVATAR is coming out on Thursday, April 22nd, which is Earth Day, and I guess Mr. Cameron feels like this is a patriotic film, and releasing it on Earth Day will send a message to all the other planets in the solar system, and the greater universe. That’s right, Martians! If you have a fuel source, we will come and take it from you. Right from your dying green hands. So, don’t mess with Texas!

Okay, then. So Avatar comes out Thursday, is the point of this early ramble.

The usual release day, Tuesday, will see Jeff Bridges in his Academy Award winning performance as Bad Blake, the country singing, hard drinking has-been in CRAZY HEART. Co-starring the very compelling Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell.

THE LOVELY BONES stars Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as parents of a murdered teenager who narrates the film from the afterworld. With Stanley Tucci as the killer and Michael Imperioli as an investigative detective.

In THE YOUNG VICTORIA, the future Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) generally looks really good, dresses really good, and comes into an awful lot of power at a very young age. With Rupert Friend as her cousin/friend/husband.

There are also a trio of new releases on Blu-ray, MINORITY REPORT, THE BASKETBALL DIARIES, and FIST OF LEGEND.

There are a bunch of interesting films you’ve never heard of this week. Try CLOUD 9 for a love story involving passionate sex for the over-60 crowd. Or THE HORSE BOY for an inspiring documentary about a family dealing with a child with autism. How about BIG HEART CITY, my friend Ben’s film about a young man trying to find his missing girlfriend. Or MAMMOTH, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams, or SECRET SHORTS, featuring short films from around the world, or maybe THE WEATHERED UNDERGROUND, in which you the viewer make decisions for how the plot will unfold, or PROM WARS, which will take you right back to that confusing awkward age as a rich beauty at an all-girls school in the Hamptons. There’s more, scroll down to read, including a batch of kids releases as well.

Alrighty then, see you down at the store.

Love and Kisses,
Ken

PS.

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............//NEW RELEASES//............

AVATAR.NOT IN STORE UNTIL THURSDAY ****BD****
Sci-fi/Action.
Sam Worthington/Zoe Saldana/Sigourney Weaver/Giovanni Ribisi/Michelle Rodriguez/Stephen Lang.
Directed by James Cameron.
* Did you see Pocahontas? Well, imagine her painted blue on a planet where the animals and vegetation can communicate through nerve endings in their hair follicles and there is a lovely and most incredibly wonderful fuel source buried beneath their feet. Okay, now, stick with me, people. John Smith (from Pocahontas) is a paraplegic, but…but, he has a very vivid imagination and excellent face paint and can pass as an Indian, I mean Native American, I mean Na’vi, (ahem) and can help the military, I mean miners, I mean settlers, I mean Americans, I mean earth people, become friendly with the natives and smoke the peace pipe, I mean make friends, I mean lie and manipulate the kind blue hippies into saying, Yo, it’s cool, dig up the big life-giving tree that our peoples have worshiped for ever and ever and enables us to communicate with our dead ancestors so you can dig up that awesome fuel source and bring it back to earth, no problem! But wait, there’s more! John and Pocahontas fall in love, remember? So John is not on the side of the imperialists anymore, see? He’s drank the Kool-Aid and applied for a life time pass from the Blue People. Which they are liable to grant, if only his mean, angry, armed, violent, American boss won’t come in like a lactose intolerant sugar hound in a vegan bakery and just go completely crazy messing up all his plans to learn how to play the conga and mind meld with the local fauna. And that, in a nutshell, is what this movie is about!

BEGINNING OF THE END.
Sci-Fi.
Peter Graves.
Directed by Bert Gordon.
* Classic 1957 Sci-fi horror movie.

BIG HEART CITY.
Drama/Indie.
Shawn Andrews/Seymour Cassel.
Directed by Ben Rodkin.
* Ben Rodkin’s directorial debut has great significance for me. Ben was the Production Manager on my feature film, HUMANS BEING, and went to Los Angeles to make movies. Lo and behold, he made one and here it is. I saw this film, it is really awesome, slow and weird and emotional in a quiet and intimate way. In Ben’s own words: “A recidivist horse better in search of his missing girlfriend discovers that though circumstances seem to indicate that something horrible has occurred, something entirely beyond his control, the reasons for her puzzling disappearance could lie squarely with himself.”

CHEECH & CHONG: HEY WATCH THIS.
Comedy.
Cheech Marin/Tommy Chong.
Directed by Christian Charles.
* I guess this is technically a documentary following the 2009 Cheech and Chong “Light Up America” (okay) tour.

CLOUD 9.
Drama/Romanc (German).
Ursula Werner/Horst Rehberg.
Directed by Andreas Dresen.
* Very moving and tasteful story about an older couple falling in love and having a passionate sexual relationship.

CRAZY HEART.****BD****
Drama.
Jeff Bridges/Maggie Gyllenhaal/Robert Duvall/Colin Farrell.
Directed by Scott Cooper.
* Bridges won Best Actor this year for his portray of Bad Blake, a down on his luck country music singer, driving from one beaten gig to the next barely gripping his whiskey in one hand and his guitar in the other. Blake meets Jean (Gyllenhaal, nominated for Best Supporting Actress) who is a small town journalist and agrees to an interview with her. Jean is a single mom, with a 4-year-old son and a stated desire to not keep making the same mistakes. Unfortunately, she can’t help herself and falls for Bad, keeping Bad company for a little while (but not til the day she dies – she doesn’t actually die, I’m just quoting rock lyrics here, guys). This film is a character study about an older drunk barely keeping it together. It’s not necessarily a great film, but it is very believable, everyone in it is terrific, and the story moves along at a nice even pace. Duvall plays a bar owner and old friend of Blake’s who want to help him get his shit together, and Farrell plays a big-time country star who got his start with Blake and is now his somewhat rival.

EX DRUMMER.
Comedy/Crime/Drama.
Dries Van Hegen.
Directed by Koen Mortier.
* Dries (Dries) is a famous writer who is asked to join a struggling band to help them achieve their dream of rock stardom. He leads them on a demented journey into rock hedonism and punk rock desolation.

THE KOREAN.
Action/Foreign (Korean).
Josiah D. Lee.
Directed by Thomas Dixon.
* The Korean is a professional killer, called in to erase four associates of a crime boss who have betrayed him and arranged his imminent arrest.

THE LOVELY BONES.****BD****
Drama/Suspense.
Saoirse Ronan/Stanley Tucci/Mark Wahlberg/Rachel Weisz/Susan Sarandon/Michael Imperioli.
Directed by Peter Jackson.
* From the very popular book comes this film about a 14-year old that has been killed and is watching over her family from heaven. Marky Mark and Weisz play the girl’s parents, who are increasingly distant following the murder. Imperioli (Christopher, from THE SOPRANOS) plays the detective and Tucci was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of George Harvey, the killer.

MAMMOTH.****BD****
Drama.
Gael Garcia Bernal/Michelle Williams.
Directed by Lukas Moodysson.
* This film is about globalization, in a way, and how has affected the modern family. Leo and Ellen (Bernal and Williams) are a married couple living in New York. They have a Filipino maid who is closer to their daughter then they are. Meanwhile, she has children back in the Philippines who miss their mother as they are living with their grandmother. Eventually, Leo goes abroad for work and struggles with competing desires for the global business life of luxury, and his need to get home to his family.

PROM WARS.
Comedy.
Ricky Ullman/Rachelle Lefevre/Chad Connell.
Directed by Phil Price.
* This teen comedy is about an all girls school filled with beautiful young women who challenge the boys at multiple prep schools to competitions to see who will get to take them to the prom.

SECRET SHORTS.
Short Films
Melissa Leo.
* This is a collection of short English language films from the USA, UK and Australia....

SUMMER HOURS.
Criterion/Drama.
Juliette Binoche.
Directed by Olivier Assayas.
* This recent film (getting the Criterion treatment!) is about three adult siblings dealing with their families belongings after their mother’s death. It is kind of a story about possessions and how they do or do not define us in the context of legacy.

UNCERTAINTY.
Drama/Suspense.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Lynn Collins/Assumpta Serna/Olvia Thirlby.
Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
* This experimental tale (in the vein of RUN LOLA RUN) is about the different choices we make and the potential lives we could live as a result.

VIVRE SA VIE.
Drama/Criterion/Foreign (French).
Anna Karina/Sady Rebbot/Monique Messine.
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
* This B&W 1962 French film follows Nana, a Parisian woman who becomes a prostitute. The story is told with 12 separate mostly unconnected shorts.

THE WEATHERED UNDERGROUND.
Action/Drama/Fantasy/Thriller.
Michael Ciriaco/Brea Grant.
Directed by David Donihue.
* This is a movie that is like those “choose your own adventure” books where you make choices between things which affect the plot of the film. It looks pretty awesome.

THE YOUNG VICTORIA.****BD****
Biography/Drama/History/Romance.
Emily Blunt/Rupert Friend/Miranda Richardson.
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee.
* From the director of one of my favorite films (C.R.A.Z.Y. – So good!) comes this costume drama about the early days of the eventual Queen Victoria. Nominated for a few Oscars (and winning one) this film focuses on the romance between Victoria and her first cousin and future husband Albert.

............//DOCUMENTARY/............

THE HORSE BOY.
Doc/Medical.
Directed by Michael O. Scott.
* This beautiful story of a family and their autistic son focuses on relationships between humans and other animals in an attempt to find relief from the issues related to autism. The Isaacson family travels to and through Mongolia in an attempt to find a mysterious shaman to help them heal their son.

............//KIDS/............

BERT AND ERNIE’S GREAT ADVENTURE.

HANDY MANNY: MANNY’S BIG RACE.

JACK & THE BEANSTALK.

K-20: THE FIEND WITH TWENTY FACES.

MY DAD THE ROCKSTAR: CALL OF THE WILD.

WHERE’S SPOT AND OTHER STORIES: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.

............//NEW ON BLU/............

THE BASKETBALL DIARIES.
* One of Leonardo DiCaprio’s first big roles came as Jim Carroll in this adaptation of Carroll’s famous book chronicling his drug addiction.

FIST OF LEGEND.
* Jet Li taking off.

MINORITY REPORT.
* One thing extra interesting in this Tom Cruise film is the cool futuristic way that advertising is aimed at individuals on the billboards as they go by…isn’t that basically how it works on the internet? Philip K. Dick is prescient once again.

****

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